Rain, Rain

I’d tell it to go away, but it’s just too beautiful.  I love the way it rains here: big, cold drops that soak everything, a fine mist hanging in the air like we live in a cloud, and the world is all in shades of blue.

I have made so much bread this past month that my favorite, base recipe is memorized and I’ve gone through almost twenty pounds of flour!

Last week, while unpacking and going through my clothes, I found all my work slacks and blouses and had the surreal feeling that I was unpacking, shaking out, folding, and repacking a whole different person.  One year seems like a lifetime ago.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken so long to try at putting a new life together.  I could tell you it’s because I was so tired and so busy with new motherhood or I could tell you the truth; I didn’t want to move so, in my stubborn way, I did, but I also didn’t.  I’m incredibly grateful we happened upon this crazy, lovely house in this tiny, lovely town.  We have been welcomed so warmly, I’ve found it impossible to hold on to my anger and depression.

There’s a patch of blue sky getting bigger outside my kitchen window and the weather app says we’re heading for over 70 degrees . . . I think I’m going to pack up my sweet Sunshine when she’s done napping and find some water today.  : )

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Temporary Insanity

I was standing in the kitchen when it hit.

Four sleepless nights in.

There were dishes on every square inch of countertop

coats in our chairs

stacks of mail

baby toys

dog harnesses and leashes and toys

an unopened toaster in the center of the table

the recycling overflowing it’s box in the kitchen

the garbage overflowing its can in the entryway

I hadn’t showered

the coffee was gone

I was trying to pick up

but there was nowhere to put anything

I grabbed a Coronita from the fridge

I knew I needed a moment

a quiet moment

a cold, little beer

and everything would look possible again

but there was no opener.

I began to feel a little desperate

rifling through boxes I already knew the openers weren’t in

and wondering for the fiftieth time this week why we didn’t have a key rack yet.

There are openers on ALL of our key chains

yet I couldn’t find a single one.

But I need this little beer!!!!

I need a little moment,

to close my eyes and imagine a completed kitchen, I love

A pantry with shelves

a living room with furniture

just one moment of peace

if I don’t get it . . .

Inspiration struck,

sweet college years

and sweet, ugly counter top we plan to rip out

so I felt no guilt as I held the beer against it’s edge

and slammed the bottom of my fist into the cap

on a grin

as it flew off with a satisfying pop.

Disaster averted.
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Thursday

I am in the shower taking my time, shaving my legs, washing my hair . . . glad to be rediscovering some semblance of the vanity I knew before months of sporadic bathing and routinely forgetting to brush my teeth–before motherhood, that is.  Out in the kitchen, my husband is dancing to Mambo Italiano with our 8 month old daughter.  When the song ends, the sound of their mingled voices gets closer.  I hear him say, “A is for Astronaut or Aerospace” and in my head, I think “or appaloosa . . .”  She babbles back and they move on to “B.”  This time the word is one I don’t know, likely something to do with space and/or engineering.

Today is swim class day: one of my favorite days of the week.  The pool is always fun and even though the class is short, it wears out my sweet Sunshine for the rest of the day.  Taking a sip of my coffee (another rare treat, shower coffee, usually these days my showers are too short to enjoy a cup of joe), I think about my life a year ago.  I was tired, very pregnant, worried about the future, and so sad to be leaving a life I loved so much for a complete unknown on the other side of the country.  I didn’t enjoy being pregnant and while part of me wanted so badly for her to be born so I didn’t have to be pregnant anymore, another part of me desperately wanted to just stay pregnant forever so nothing would have to change.

In the kitchen, I can hear they’ve moved on to “E,” which is apparently for “Electromagnetism.”  In my head, I think, “or eventing.”  I take another sip of coffee and realize it’s getting late, I should hop out so Carl can head in to work and Sunshine can start her nap.  But before shutting off the water, I stand there just one more minute listening to my new life.  It isn’t perfect.  I still miss my Idahome so much I ache sometimes, and Lord knows I’m going to have to make a friend or two here before I completely forget how to socialize like a normal, adult human.  But the beauty of this new life takes my breath away sometimes.

I knew I was going to love watching Carl be a father, but the reality of it is beyond anything I imagined.  I hoped we would find a house in the country, but our little farm is straight out of a Robert Frost poem.  And I was sure I would love my baby, but what I feel when I hear her little voice babble along with her father’s in the next room makes me wish we had more words for love.  I realize I’ve been standing in the shower crying for several minutes now.  My coffee is cold, but my heart is warm.  Drying off my tears along with the rest of the water, I step out into the chilly bathroom.  Carl comes in to remind me he’s late, the baby reaches her sticky hands out for me with a big, drooly, two-tooth grin, and . . .

I’m happy.

 

Mac n’ Cheese Manor: Adulting is Hard and Saying Goodbye to our Apartment

When we woke up at 7am this morning, this was our to do list:

  1. Pack the kitchen
  2. Clean the empty apartment
  3. Close on the house
  4. Meet Charter person for internet at 1pm
  5. Meet appliances delivery people at unknown time
  6. Meet MassSave in home assessment person at 3:30 or 4pm

By 10am, when we had completed zero tasks, we made a few calls and edited our to do list to the following:

  1. Pack the kitchen
  2. Clean the empty apartment
  3. Close on the house

Adulting is hard and clearly, we initially signed up for more of it than we are adult enough to do.  The good news is that when you’re an adult, you can sometimes decide when and how much adulting you will do in a given day.

Right now, Carl has gone to collect the final piece of info and meet the others for signing/closing so we can give them all our money and officially move into our beloved, yellow home.  I am supposed to be cleaning and packing the last bits in our apartment, and I have been, but the baby fell asleep in her swing and I decided to take just a few minutes to sit down, drink a beer, and tell you all a little bit about our hole in the ground before we leave it for good this evening.

When we found this apartment, my sweet Sunshine was just under two months old, we’d been living in hotels for nearly three weeks, and had looked at more apartments than I care to count.  Some were in terrifying parts of unfamiliar cities, some were in skyscrapers, most were too expensive and ALL prohibited any pets the size and breeds of my dogs.  I was completely disheartened.  My older dog, Why?lee was fifteen at the time and I have never left him behind in my life except for the one month we spent apart when I went to work at camp with Carl in the summer of 2005.  It was impossible for me to imagine leaving him or our eleven year old dog, Orion behind, and yet, things were looking grim.

Then, one sunny September day, I had a list of three apartments to visit.  The first was in a  skyscraper in the middle of Worcester and didn’t take dogs over 50lbs, the second was twice what we could afford, and the third was so perfect when I pulled in, I sat in the car for five minutes preparing myself to find out it wouldn’t work without crying.  I was tired of looking, tired of living out of a suitcase, and tired of eating out all the time. Although I was returning to Idaho in a couple of weeks, I wanted to know Carl was squared away and that when we finally moved in December, our dogs could come, too.

The first thing I noticed was the coffee shop right at the entrance to the complex, I just knew it was a good omen.  Then I noticed there were tons of children playing out in front of the older, brick buildings.  A family place.  Yes.  Then I toured a ground floor apartment with the manager.  There was one available, in our price range, that happened to be right next to the laundry room, and as close as you could get to the shared dog run.  Next to the dog run was a bike rack and about twenty bikes, none of which were locked up.  It was even more than I had ever hoped to find.

Then the apartment manager asked what kind of dogs we have and my heart sank.  Here we go, I thought, bracing myself for the word, “No.”  But when I said we had two, large dogs–a Shepard mix and a pit bull mix, he just smiled and said, “Cool.”

A week later, we moved in and for seven months this little place was home.  A safe, happy haven for my daughter and the many other children living here and a rare apartment complex willing to not notice what kind of dogs I have, making it possible for us to all be together while we searched for our permanent home.  So while I’m beyond ready to move into our house and I won’t miss apartment living, my heart is warm and full of gratitude for this place.

Onward!  : )

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(Photo taken our first night in the apartment, Sept 2016.)

Mac n’ Cheese Manor: A few quick updates!

We have scheduled our electrical updates!!!  Once the work is complete, we will have a standard, 200 amp breaker box for the house (replacing our current 60 amp fuse box that is wired to a 100 amp breaker box in a most concerning way), a standard 100 amp breaker box for the barn, and they are adding a hook-up in the kitchen for our stove.

Speaking of the stove, we bought appliances on Sunday!!!  All but the stove will be delivered before we move and thankfully that includes a microwave so we can have freezer meals until the stove arrives about a week later.

We also bought living room furniture online which is slightly terrifying, but it had great reviews, was on sale, and ships for free so it was tough to pass up.  The part that amazes me the most is that Carl and I actually agreed on how much we love it!  Furniture-wise, that’s a first.  : )

We have a few fencers lined up to give us quotes in April!

Choosing paint is HARD.  But we do have our living room colors picked out and I think that will end up being the first room we complete!  If my sweet seven month old is feeling froggy, we might just run out to shop for curtains today.  : )

New flooring is needed throughout, but we’ve put that particular big ticket repair on the back burner until such time as funds will allow.  Fortunately, Carl’s papa is a licensed expert in flooring so we should be able to save a lot of $$$ laying it down ourselves with his help when we’re ready.  : )

I’ve submitted a request for a free assessment of our home’s energy efficiency.  (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not in any way, shape, or form energy efficient. At all.)  Hopefully, we’ll be able to qualify through Mass Save for some rebates on our appliances, discounts on things like shower nozzles and a dehumidifier for our basement, and maybe even an interest free, long term loan for new windows.  We’ll see!

Whew!  Just typing out this list made me tired!  (Just kidding, my baby slept for about two hours last night, that’s why I’m so tired. :)  We are working as quickly as we can to get things as ready as we can because we’re moving permanently in less than two weeks!  It will be lovely looking out the window and not seeing a parking lot.  As wonderful as this apartment complex has been, it’s still an apartment and this country girl is ready to move on!

 

Mac n’ Cheese Manor: The Beginning

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We started moving in yesterday and suddenly everything felt real.  We live in Massachusetts now, a world away from our Idaho home.  We bought a timeworn, run-down farmhouse on nine of the most beautiful acres I’ve ever seen.  We can finally begin settling into this new life.  And we have a lot of work to do.

At first, we planned to move everything in one day.  Then, we remembered that there’s only two of us and we have a baby.  So we paid for one more month of storage and opted for a three week, three load plan.  Shortly after coming to this conclusion, another Nor’Easter hit and we got two feet of snow, as if nature wanted to confirm we’d made the right decision.

Plotting out our move into the house has been a bit tricky.  With a plethora of repairs and changes that need to be made before we can really unpack, and limited man-power, we’ve opted for a staged process.  To add to that, the last, human occupants of the house left it four years ago and evidence would suggest that it was more recently inhabited by squirrels and mice.  Ew.

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While it is not an insurmountable issue, after doing a bit of homework, we discovered it is one that must be handled with care.  Bleach is our new best friend!  And before putting any of our things in the house, we mixed up some bleach water and scoured the floors, radiators, etc.  For small amounts of poop, a normal bleaching will do.  For larger amounts, such as what we found in the upper level of the barn, a whole different process is required, but we’ll get into that in another post, on another day.  : )

After thoroughly bleaching and de-pooping, Carl unloaded the trailer, sorting boxes by their contents into what will eventually be his study and a guest bedroom.  Tennessee and I hung out in the kitchen, playing and discussing paint colors until her bedtime.  Since we weren’t in the apartment with all her books, I pulled up Robert Service poems on my phone so Sam McGee, Dan McGrew, and I could read her to sleep instead. I love our crumbly, old house and I can’t wait until the day we go out there and just . . . stay.

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Getting a Life: The Day Before Day One

img_8685Half of my world headed out on a cross country drive this past Monday to our new home in Massachusetts and I am sitting here looking at empty space.  It’s strange.  There was a life here; we lived it for six years, and last weekend it came to an end.  It feels abrupt, even though it’s been months coming and I’ve done my best to enjoy a long goodbye.

Now, sitting in all this emptiness, struggling to decide what to feel first when sadness, anxiety, excitement, loneliness, hope, fear, and determination are all clambering for my attention, one thing has become clear: once I let go and leave Idaho, I’ll need to get a life.  I have no idea what to expect or how it will all come together, I only know (from my nine or so previous moves) that it won’t come together by itself.  New lives, if you want a good one, that is, take crafting.

So I’m going to document our efforts, because that’s what I do, and you can follow along here, if you like, as we carve out a place for ourselves on the East Coast.  : )

Of course, before I can go get a new one, I have say goodbye to this one.  So for now, you’ll find me here, living every last Idaho hour to the fullest.  As it turns out, there’s no such thing as a long enough goodbye to someone, something, somewhere you love.  A desperate wish for one more day still squeezes my heart.  What can I say?  It’s been that good of a life.  : )

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